Recreational Programs FAQs

We hope these questions and answers help you to plan a fantastic season at the RCC! If your questions aren't addressed here, we'd be happy to answer them for you; please send us an email at

Who Can Participate?
Recreational Programs are open to the general public and Rideau Canoe Club members at least fourteen years of age. Our Fitness Paddling programs are open to the general public and RCC members at least sixteen years of age. Group bookings and private lessons are open to the general public and Club members are least ten years of age. You do not have to be a member of the Club to register for Recreation programs.

Is There a Curriculum?

We're really proud (really, really proud!) to say that our Recreation Program is a member of the Ontario Recreational Canoeing & Kayaking Association (ORCKA) and we offer certification in their Flat water courses booked privately! All of our other courses and programs follow a set curriculum based largely on ORCKA's Flat water program. Of course, exact progression of skills will vary depending on the focus of the program and the individual paddler. Want to know more about what you'll learn in each program? Email and we'd be happy to let you know!

Will I Get Wet?

Whether it's just a drop or totally drenched, yes you will get wet! Of course, it depends on the program and the individual paddler too. Some of our courses include “dumping” out of the boat to practice self-rescue skills while other programs focus on staying in the boat. But since anything is possible, all paddlers should be ready to swim every time they are on the water. Besides, we believe it only makes you a better paddler and everyone likes a good laugh, right?

Do I Need My Own Boat & Equipment?

Nope! The Club has all of the gear and safety equipment you'll need to participate in our Recreation courses and programs. But if you have your own, you're very welcome to bring it along! If you let us know ahead of time, we'll even flex our muscles and help you carry it to and from your car. 

How do I Know if I’m a Good Enough Swimmer?

A good paddler doesn’t need to be an Olympic swimmer but they do need to be comfortable enough in the water to be safe. After all, we're here to have a great paddling experience and we can't do that if we're both worried about your swimming abilities. So we've decided that if you can enter the water from the dock wearing a lifejacket/PFD, tread water in place for 1 minute, then swim 25 meters, you’ll be just fine (this is the Lifesaving Society of Canada’s Swim to Survive standard)! If you would like to have your swimming ability evaluated before your program starts, we'd be happy to set up a swim test for you by appointment.

I Have Paddled Before. How do I Know if I Meet the Prerequisites for a Particular Course or Program?

We'd love to hear more about your love affair (long or short!) with paddling! Email to let us know the details; we can let you know about specific expectations of each course or program. With this information you should be able to do a self-assessment and decide which course is most appropriate for you. But if you're still unsure we can set up an evaluation to know where you're at! 

What do I Bring to My Course?

Great question! All registrants will receive an email prior to their start date letting them know what to expect and what to prepare for. But if you like to plan things in advance, here's a list of the essentials! 
  • Clothes that can get wet
  • A change of clothes for after the program in case you get wet!
  • A water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Sun safety gear (wide brimmed hat, sun screen or long sleeves, sun glasses)

What if the Weather is Bad?

Yikes! We know how fast summer weather can change; this is why we're extra careful and check weather reports multiple times throughout the day. The goal at the heart of all our programs is active, outdoor learning so if there is light rain we’ll still be outside. But if it is stormy, critically hot, or unsafe to be on the water, we definitely won't! Do yourself a favour and give the Weather Network a quick check the day of your course and come prepared. If we feel it necessary to cancel the program, every attempt will be made to call each participant in advance to reschedule the class. If we can't get in touch with you before you make it down to the canceled course, don't worry, you'll be offered credit for another program!

Where do I Park?

Parking is available in our teeny, tiny parking lot. Note that on days in Dragon Boat season (May, June) the parking lot fills very quickly! So if you can, we recommend ditching your car and biking to your course; we've got some bike racks to keep your wheels safe! If you're a fan of OC Transpo, the #111 & 87 buses also come close to the Club. But if you do drive down to the Club and find there aren't any spaces for your vehicle, overflow parking is available at nearby locations seen in the red areas here (please note that regular by-law rules apply for parking hours).